By Jay Mwamba
Ken Egan scored an impressive, albeit Pyrrhic five-round points victory over American Dorian Anthony on his debut in the World Series of Boxing team tournament in Miami last week.
The Olympic medalist [pictured on the right, above] also left the ring with a cut above the right eye from a clash of heads in the fourth stanza. It required five stitches and earned him an automatic 45-day medical suspension.
The Dubliner, representing the Miami Gallos team, joined fellow Irish Olympian John Joe Nevin in the win column in the new semi-pro series following the latter's triumph over 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Vincenzo Picardi in Milan.
Egan, who struck silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had Anthony of the Los Angeles Matadors going in the final stanza of their light heavyweight contest at the American Airlines Arena, but the Californian was saved from a certain knock out by the bell.
Instead, Egan, who's 28, came away with a unanimous decision [49-46, 49-47, 48-47] that helped Miami to a 3-2 win over Los Angeles in the WSB competition.
"I feel that he was using his head an awful lot," Egan told the Echo of Anthony's habit of leading with his head. "I had to be very careful."
The danger posed by Anthony's cranium aside, Egan had his way with the 2009 U.S. national titlist.
"I boxed well and feel that I won every round," the Dubliner, a 10-time Irish champion, said. "I hurt him in the last round with a right hook and tried to finish him off but the bell saved him. I liked the way I boxed."
So did Miami Gallos head coach the veteran Pat Burns, a professional trainer who worked with John Duddy last year.
"He looked great," Burns summed up Egan's performance. "I've worked with him a few weeks and it's been fun. Aside from his skills, he brings leadership to the team."
Egan said the WSB was a great opportunity to get a taste of the pro game while maintaining his amateur status.
"I turned down many offers to turn pro after China and definitely want to go to London [2012 Olympics]," he added.
The WSB is an annually recurring global competition incepted by the International Boxing Association, the governing body of the amateur game, with teams in Europe, Asia and the Americas. It allows boxers to compete at a semi-pro level while maintaining their eligibility to compete in the Olympics and other top amateur tournaments.
Fighters do not wear headgear, fight a maximum five rounds and earn a minimum $30,000 per season in addition to bonuses of $5,000 per win and $1,000 for a loss.
The top-ranked boxers in the WSB Team Championships will qualify for the WSB Individual Championships, which will act as a qualifier for the Olympics.
PHOTOGRAPH BY INPHO/WSB
NO ORDINARY JOE
The previous week in Milan, Italy, John Joe Nevin, the 21 year-old bantamweight fighting for Paris United, bested 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Vincenzo Picardi of the Milano Thunder on unanimous points.
"He's an Olympic bronze medalist and I knew I was the underdog," Nevin said. "But I've got a great team and I've been learning some things. It's great to get a victory over five rounds."
Light punching Polish middleweight Daniel Urbanski [19-5-3, 5 KOs] will be Andy Lee's opponent in a tune-up fight Dec. 11 at the SAP-Arena in Mannheim, Germany.
The scheduled eight-rounder will be on the undercard of Lee training mate Wladimir Klitschko's world heavyweight title defense against Derek Chisora.
Said Lee [24-1, 18 KOs], who's now scheduled to face his only conqueror, Bryan Vera, next February: "This is my fifth fight this year and no better stage for a boxer than a 20,000 seat stadium in Germany on the undercard of IBF, WBO and WBO heavyweight world champion, Waldimir Klitschko."